Art Nouveau

A Sophisticated Floral


While Ruhlmann is better known for his beautifully designed and executed furniture and interior decoration he also designed a number of wallpapers. This is an early design produced before he got into his brightly colored art deco phase. While still drawing upon an Art nouveau aesthetic with its meandering vines and organic nature, the restrained color palette and reduction of the natural forms into their most basic silhouette also shows some of characteristics of the coming Art Deco style.
Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, wallpaper, floral, Art Nouveau, Art Deco

Baby, It's Cold Outside!


With the temperature outside at record lows this week, I can’t help but think of William Henry Bradley’s The Blue Lady.  Clutching her ice skates in her left hand, she makes a cold winter’s stroll through the thin, bare trees look elegant and placid.  (It is a sad contrast to the bundle of blue layers I’ve been hunkered down in as I head for the subway).
William Henry Bradley, Winter, poster, The Chap-Book, illustration, magazine, graphic design, Art Nouveau, blue, cold, lithography, Edward McKnight Kauffer, advertising, California, American Airlines

Take a Flying Leap


René Lalique has long been considered the most brilliant and original French Art Nouveau designer of jewelry and glass.  His lifelong study of nature in drawings and photographs including wildflowers and rare floral species, animals and insects such as swans, bats, birds, and dragonflies provided the unusual repertory for his jewelry and accessories.  In place of traditional gemstones, Lalique developed a technique of incorporating non-precious stones including opals with enamel on materials such as ivory and horn that changed the look of nineteenth-century jewelry.
Rene Lalique, Art Nouveau, drawing, jewelry, fish, comb, nature

Natural Beauty


At the time of Alphonse Mucha’s birth in present day Czech Republic, the struggle for independence from the Hapsburg Empire was reaching a boiling point. The people in this region had a strong nationalist consciousness and were fighting for greater political and cultural freedom. The heavily political atmosphere in which Mucha grew up continued to influence his work throughout his career.
Alphonse Maria Mucha, textile design, drawing, flowers, Art Nouveau, C.G. Forrer

Fans of Art Nouveau


This beautiful folding fan is one of a pair of similar fans in the Art Nouveau style in the collection of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.  The silk net leaves of both fans are decorated with cotton needle and bobbin lace embellished with shiny steel spangles.  The sticks are identical in both fans and are made of tortoiseshell embedded with steel spangles.  The guard sticks have a wavy, serpentine form and there is a glass stone at both rivets.  Both fans depict elegant floral motifs, irises in one and thistles in the other that appear to be growing out of the fou
fans, France, Art Nouveau, Les Modes, Develleroy

Grasset's Nymph


Graceful, swirling arcs envelop a golden-skinned, blue-coiffed woman.  Her eyes flicker back while her arm reaches forward, as if she is swimming away into the gilt turquoise surf intertwined with her cobalt locks.  Is she swimming amongst peaceful waves or against a looming kelp forest of her own serpentine locks?
Eugène-Samuel Grasset, Art Nouveau, jewelry design, drawing, hair, women

A Vase Designed by a Distinguished, But Forgotten Man


Hector Guimard (French, 1867-1942), architect, designer and craftsman, was best known for his iconic Paris Metro entrances (If visiting Paris, you may want to note this contribution).  Guimard heralded the Art Nouveau style to France at a time when historic references in the arts were losing favor. Art Nouveau brought a new vit
Hector Guimard, Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, Porcelain, glaze, Art Nouveau

Velvet Lady


“Femme à Marguerite” or “Woman with a Daisy” was designed by Alphonse Maria Mucha, a fin-de-siecle artist perhaps most famous for his works on paper. Mucha was born in Moravia in 1860 and died in Czechoslovakia in 1939, however like a majority of his works, this fabric was designed in France around the turn of the 19th century at the height of his career and the height of the Art Nouveau period.
Art Nouveau, Alphonse Maria Mucha

An emblem of Dutch diversity


With its overlapping pattern of abstracted florals and its animated orange circular motif, this exhibition poster designed by artist Johan Thorn Prikker (b.1868-1932) is a true icon of the Nieuwe Kunst (Art Nouveau) style in Holland.  Created for an exhibition of Dutch art at the Kaiser-Wilhelm museum in Krefeld, Germany, Thorn Prikker employed several signifiers of Dutch nationalism to advertise the event, most notably the orange (for the House of Orange-Nassau), the tulip, and Indonesian batik.
Johan Thorn Prikker, textile design, graphic design, poster, batik, Dutch stained glass, Art Nouveau

Seduced by an Object Poster


The turn of the twentieth century was an exciting time to be a graphic designer in Berlin.  The city, which had once been the sleepy capital of the Kingdom of Prussia, had rapidly transformed into a booming metropolis, bustling with the energy of industrial progress.  At a moment when everything seemed to be changing, the printed poster offered an exhilarating opportunity to explore the alliance of art and industry, particularly to one precocious young man.
Lucian Bernhard, poster, typewriters, graphic design, Berlin, Germany, Sachplakat, Art Nouveau, Jugenstil

Pages